James Baskett was born in Indianapolis, Indiana back in 1904. His dream was to be pharmacist however he abandoned his plans due to financial reasons. He moved to New York City where he found work as an actor. He performed with legends like Louis Armstrong on Broadway and Bill Robinson.
He moved to Los Angeles where he had a supporting role in Straight to Heaven (1939). He also appeared in several bit parts until 1944 when he joined the cast of Amos n’ Andy. That lasted until 1948. It wasn’t until he auditioned for a bit part in 1945 that forever changed his life.
That performance led to him receiving an Honorary Academy Award.
For you see James stared in the 1946 movie Song of the South, he portrayed Uncle Remus singing the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. For that performance, he was the first black male performer to receive an Oscar.
Suffering from poor health due to diabetes and suffering a heart attack, he died of heart failure in 1948, he was only 44.
Until tomorrow give someone the free gift of a smile